So, I hear the Blackhawks have some kind of important game tonight?
- Arizona Phil reports that Eloy Jimenez, the top international prospect last year, has been assigned from extended Spring Training to the Cubs in the Dominican Summer League. The 17-year-old beast of an outfielder does not yet appear on the DSL Cubs roster – their season started yesterday – but Phil tends not to be wrong about these kinds of things. Jimenez was the Cubs’ priciest signee last year – indeed, the priciest IFA last year overall – and from day one, it was assumed that he would start his career this year in the DSL, as virtually all IFAs from the Dominican Republic do. Because of his advanced body and obvious talent, there have been rumors for months that he would start out in Arizona in rookie ball, which would have been an incredible statement about his present ability. In other words, the fact that he’s headed to the DSL really doesn’t mean anything about this future ability, as we’ve always known that Jimenez was more about projection than current polish. I’m trying to find the perfect way to say: heading to the DSL doesn’t change our thoughts about Jimenez one iota. Jimenez remains a clearly-talented, but super-duper young prospect.
- Also keep in mind: the Arizona League doesn’t start for another three weeks. It’s entirely possible that Jimenez could play in the DSL for a while, and still come back later this Summer and play in the AZL. Anecdotally, that doesn’t seem all that common, but it does happen.
- Another also: Gleyber Torres, the 17-year-old Venezuelan shortstop who was considered by most to be the IFA class’s 1B to Jimenez’s 1A last year (the Cubs got the top two international prospects last year – you are reminded), is still playing at extended Spring Training, and seems pretty much locked into starting his professional career in the AZL. Pretty darn impressive.
- Ricky Renteria was going to give Starlin Castro a day off today, as he did with Anthony Rizzo on Friday, but Castro talked Renteria out of it, per Cubs.com. Castro very much wants to play 162 games, as he did in 2012 (in 2013, he famously got a day off mid-season when he was really struggling), and Renteria obviously has to balance Castro’s passion with keeping him fresh. Rizzo homered twice in his first game back from his rest. Just sayin’.
- Renteria is not pushing for guys like Kris Bryant and Javier Baez to be up in the big leagues (CSN). The money quote: “We have to be very sure that when we pull the trigger on any decisions that we make, it’s for the betterment of the player and for our organization.” That’s what you want to hear.
- Remember how I said that we should all prepare ourselves to watch Cardinals prospect Oscar Taveras dominate for the next 10 years as a Cardinal? Well, he homered in his first game up. Naturally.
- Paul Hoynes writes that new Iowa Cubs coach/player Manny Ramirez, who’s been doing some apologizing, owes one more apology: to his former manager, Terry Francona.